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All-time Northern Nevada baseball team (position players)

Joey Hooft
Joey Hooft played in three College World Series. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Over the last several weeks, we've looked at Northern Nevada's all-time high school football team (offense, defense, special teams and coaches), its all-time boys basketball team and its all-time girls basketball team. This week, we dive onto the diamond where we'll break down Northern Nevada's all-time high school baseball team. As a reminder, we are considering each player's accomplishments both in high school as well as college and the pros, with equal weight being given to pre-college and post-college accolades. Here is our 20-person position player group. (And here is our all-time Northern Nevada baseball pitching staff).

Position players

Catcher: Steven Lerud, Galena: Lerud was the 2003 Nevada Gatorade player of the year, one of only seven Northern players (and only two Northern position players) to win the honor, which has been given out every year since 1985. Lerud's 60 high school homers rank second in state history behind the Rangers' Joey Gallo (the Cubs' Kris Bryant is fourth on the list). His 21 homers as a senior rank fifth most in Nevada history in a season as he led the Grizzlies to the state semifinals. A third-round pick in 2003, Lerud played nine big-league games from 2012-13. He logged 999 pro games overall. Backup: Nate Nolan, Damonte Ranch

First baseman: Don Price, Reno: Northern Nevada has never had a first baseman make it to the bigs, although several had stellar prep and college careers. Price edged out Billy Paganetti, Pat Gallagher and Tony Thompson for this spot. Playing at Reno High from 1993-95, Price ranks in the top-15 in large-class Nevada history in hits, runs, doubles, triple, homers and RBIs. He played for the Wolf Pack and was a three-time All-Big West honoree, an All-American and is second in school history in homers. He was inducted into the Wolf Pack Hall of Fame in 2012. Backup: Billy Paganetti, Galena

Second baseman: Joe Hooft, Galena: Galena had some awesome offenses in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and Hooft was a driving force behind them. He ranks fourth in state history in runs (191), sixth in homers (38), 12th in doubles (39) and his 25-game hitting streak is the third best for a Nevada high school player. In 2000, he hit .635 (73-of-127), the best ever for a large-class player (future big-leaguers Tommy Pham and Bryce Harper rank right after him). He hit .302 in college (at Miami and Arizona State) while playing in three College World Series. Hooft had a brief minor-league career. Backup: Carlos Madrid, Reed

Shortstop: Garrett Hampson, Reno: A speedy shortstop, Hampson had a standout career at Reno, where he was an All-American and two-time all-state pick. He hit .469 in his career, including a senior season hitting .492 with 21 steals. Despite being drafted out of high school, he opted for college at Long Beach State where he was a freshman All-American and then an overall All-American while also playing for Team USA. He hit .304 with 50 steals for the Dirtbags before being the No. 81 pick in the 2016 MLB draft. Hampson made his big-league debut in 2018 and is a .245 hitter in his first three years in the bigs. Backup: Justin Bridgman, Damonte Ranch

Third baseman: Matt Williams, Carson: Technically, Williams was a shortstop in high school and in college for UNLV, but he was a third baseman in the pros, and a four-time Gold Glover at that, so he fits this position. He earned the nickname of "Carson Crusher" for his prestigious blows as a high school player. At UNLV, he hit .327 with 58 homers and 217 RBIs in three seasons before being the No. 3 pick in the 1986 draft. Williams had the best pro career of any local player, making five All-Star teams while hitting .268 with 378 homers in 17 big-league seasons. Backup: Matt Bowman, Dayton

Outfielder: Chris Aguila, McQueen: Aguila's 1997 season is the greatest in Northern Nevada history. He hit .580 with 29 homers (tying a national record), 52 extra-base hits, 81 RBIs, 76 runs and 19 steals in 38 games. On the mound, he was 8-3 with 117 strikeouts in 70.2 innings and was an All-American (although the Nevada Gatorade player of the year that season was Las Vegas' Alan Webb somehow). A third-round MLB draft pick, Aguila turned pro rather than attending Hawaii and played 149 big-league games. He hit .278 with 163 homers in a long minor-league career. Backup: Scott Cousins, North Valleys

Outfielder: Rob Richie, Hug: Growing up in small-town Hawthorne, Richie moved to Reno so he could face better competition. Despite the increased competition level, Richie was dominant. He even earned 1983 large-class player of the year over Carson's Matt Williams. He was a star pitcher, the large-class basketball player of the year and an excellent receiver in football. Richie played college ball at Nevada where he was a four-year star, turning down the pros after his junior year. Richie was a college All-American as a senior (he hit .389 with nine homers and 20 steals). A second-round pick in 1987, Richie was a Double-A MVP in 1988 and a big-leaguer in 1989 before shockingly giving up baseball to focus on his religion (he's a Jehovah’s Witness). Backup: Brian Barnett, McQueen

Outfielder: John Gamble, Carson: The first pro baseball player to come out of Northern Nevada (if we don't count Tuscarora's Wheezer Dell in the 1910s), we have to put Gamble on the list for his ground-breaking success. A star for the Senators in the 1960s (he led Carson to the state title game in 1965), Gamble was the No. 39 pick of the 1966 draft by the Dodgers, which remains the fifth highest in Northern Nevada history decades later. Gamble was acquired by the Tigers via the 1970 Rule V draft and made his big-league debut with the club in 1972. He played 13 major-league games (with three at-bats) and 11 minor-league season, slashing .264/.329/.323. Backup: John Wallace, Reno

Utility: Tony Thompson, Galena: A two-way star in high school, Thompson hit .490 at Galena with 23 homers while going 16-7 on the mound with a 3.41 ERA while leading Galena to the state title game as a senior. He played his college ball at Kansas as a corner infielder and earned the Big 12's first triple crown during his sophomore season, hitting .389 with 21 homers and 82 RBIs to earn All-American honors. He ended his three-year college career with a .341 average and 32 homers. Thompson played four minor-league seasons with the A's, slashing .258/.329/.410. Backup: Jim Wallace, Reno

Utility: Marc Kaiser, Reno: A stellar two-way player at Reno High from 1998-2000 (I once doubled off the wall against him; I got lucky), Kaiser ranks top-15 in state history among large-class players in homers, runs scored and RBIs as a hitter and is top 15 in strikeouts as a pitcher. His 2000 season was one of the most impressive in local history, as he dominated as a hitter and pitcher. Kaiser was a fifth-round draft pick out of high school but opted for college (he played at Arizona and Lewis and Clark). He eventually played five affiliated minor-league seasons, reaching as high as Triple-A in the Rockies organization. Backup: Brady Dolan, Reno

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